FORMER First Lady Grace Mugabe has broken her silence over a ruling by a traditional court that ordered that the remains of her late husband and former President Robert Mugabe should be exhumed and reburied at the national shrine.
Grace, through her lawyers from Chimwamurombe Legal Practice, wrote to Chief Zimba, born Stanley Wurayayi Mhondoro on June 2, challenging his order for Mugabe's remains to be exhumed from his rural Zvimba home and be properly buried at the National Heroes' Acre in Harare by July 1 this year. The chief found her guilty of breaching customary procedures and fined her six beasts.
In her application filed at the Chinhoyi Magistrates Court on June 4, Grace argued that the manner in which the matter was handled by Chief Zvimba's traditional court was defective.
"The above subject refers and we act on Mrs Grace Mugabe, kindly note our interest herein," they argued, adding: "Further to the plethora of identified legal restrictions that Chief Zvimba faced, the summonses were not even served in the required manner by the rules of the court."
"... that a summons must only be served on a defendant or responsible person at their residence or place of work within the physical boundary of the court's jurisdiction. The summons that formulated the basis of this correspondence were served at our client's residential home in Borrowdale in Harare."
"The judgment has several penalties or orders which expect compliance by July 1, 2021. Having had sight of the referenced judgment, we have identified critical procedural and substantive law defects that must be corrected by this court to attain real and substantial justice in the judicial process and additionally rein in the community court presiding officer from overstretching their lawful operation as a judicial officer," the lawyers said.
Grace said the complainant, Tinos Manongovere did not sufficiently identify himself to appropriately be placed as a suitable plaintiff in the local court."There is no information that has been provided to show the substantial legal interest that fits with the plaintiff, thereby, prompting him to approach the court vis-à-vis the aforementioned choice of law process."
"The summons issued on April 29 by the chief already carried a sentence of five cattle and one goat. This was made before the attendance and later on conviction of Grace Mugabe. The ultimate hearing was, therefore, manifestly biased since the sentence was already predetermined," they submitted.
The lawyers further claimed that Chief Zvimba failed to observe one of the cardinal principles of natural justice by making an order directing the disposal of property that belonged to the estate of the late Mugabe in the absence of the lawful custodian of such property.
Mugabe is believed to have properties in Harare, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi and Singapore.
Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwao recently sensationally claimed on South African broadcaster, Sabc that the former strongman's ex-right handman believed that Mugabe was buried with a mystical sceptre that would give him commanding authority as a leader.
Two days ago, Mugabe's three children, Bona Mutsahuni Mugabe (executor of the estate of the late Mugabe), Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe and Tinotenda Robert Mugabe argued that Chief Zvimba acted outside his jurisdiction when he approached the village court to summon their mother over allegations that she broke traditional norms when she buried the former President.
In their court application, they stated that they felt that Chief Zvimba should not have heard the case in the first place as it was outside his jurisdiction, adding that government was also involved during Mugabe's burial in Zvimba in September 2019.